Announcing AZERO Domains
We are excited to announce AZERO Domains (AZNS), the first decentralized domain name service built natively on the Aleph Zero ledger. Finally, we can tell you more about the project since its first testnet release and will do so regularly in the upcoming weeks and months. Make sure to join our new Discord and Telegram servers linked at the end of the article to stay in the loop.
There are many good reasons why we have decided to start building on Aleph Zero. Being involved in the community from the very beginning made us experience the great drive of the ecosystem. The Aleph Zero Foundation is constantly pushing and developing a unique edge in the crypto landscape, enabling scalable and private transactions while integrating seamlessly with other chains and ecosystems.
AZERO Domains started with successful participation at the ETHWarsaw hackathon in September of this year. Our goal was and still is to elevate the Aleph Zero user experience by simplifying the complexity of blockchain interactions. Now, we are happy to finally announce more about the project and what's to come!
What is a (decentralized) name service?
Similar to the internets’ Domain Name Service (DNS), decentralized name services help users to communicate within a network. In the traditional web, domains abstract away the complexity of communicating through hardly readable IP addresses. In blockchain networks, users interact with peers based on their wallet addresses. Usually, these addresses consist of many alphanumerical characters that are impractical to use and hard to remember (see the SS58 address standard of Substrate). This increases the likelihood of human error and fraud. It also not allows certain use cases, like remembering an address of a friend.
With AZNS, we are building the official domain service on Aleph Zero to reduce this complexity and increase usability. Users will be able to register unique domains with a .azero top-level domain ending. This opens up a variety of new use cases within the Aleph Zero ecosystem and pushes adoption even further. Domains will be integrated into numerous decentralized apps and function as the starting point for a unique on-chain identity and application hub.
Challenges of on-chain domain services
On-chain domain services are nothing new. Even the first blockchain project Namecoin, an early fork of Bitcoin, had the vision to bring names & identities on-chain. With the introduction of the Ethereum Name Service (ENS), on-chain domains became an important part of the crypto ecosystem. Today, ENS is one of the most successful protocols in the space. However, despite its success, different challenges remain unsolved or have newly emerged.
One serious challenge is domain squatting. Currently, domain services suffer from a large portion of domains held by speculators with the sole objective of selling for a higher price in the future. Domain squatting reduces the overall utility on-chain names can offer for its users and are value-extractable for the community due to rent extraction. Further, name systems are central community hubs, and their value creation and revenues are a function of the growth of the community and ecosystem itself. Current domain systems fail to capture this relationship and lack an efficient use and allocation of these obtained funds.
What’s to come
In the following weeks, we will explain how we want to tackle these challenges and establish a native on-chain name service for the Aleph Zero ecosystem. Also, we will soon publish an article on the status of our development and our strategy for existing testnet domains, and how we move forward. Our vision for the project goes far beyond the simple issuance of domains, and we are happy to let you know more about our goals within the next months.
We are also excited to invite you all to join our new Discord community to discuss what's ahead of us! And don’t forget to subscribe to our Telegram announcement channel to not miss upcoming news and updates. See you soon! 👀